After serving 10 days of her 15-day sentence for trespassing during a protest against fracking, activist Sandra Steingraber was released from the Schuyler County jail last week in Watkins Glen, N.Y. The day before she was imprisoned, she talked with Bill about her fight to stop fracking and the release of toxins contaminating our air, water and food.
Steingraber had been arrested along with nine other protesters on March 18 for blocking the entrance to the Inergy natural gas facility to protest “the industrialization of the Finger Lakes.” After refusing to pay a fine, Steingraber and two other members of the “Seneca Lake 12″ received 15-day sentences.
In this exclusive video, watch Steingraber’s supporters greet her with flowers, cheers and song as she is released from jail. An emotional Steingraber tells the crowd: “I would do it again in a minute. …Being new to civil disobedience, I’m still learning about its power and its limitations… But I know this: all I had to do is sit in a six-by-seven-foot steel box in an orange jumpsuit and be mildly miserable, but the real power of it is to be able to shine a spotlight on the problem.”
The day before she left her family to go to jail, biologist, mother and activist Sandra Steingraber joined Bill Moyers to talk about the need to build awareness about toxins that contaminate our air, water and food — and threaten our children’s health. With government captured by the very industries it’s supposed to regulate, Steingraber said she’s lost patience with politicians and corporations, and the time for direct action is now.
“I believe, as do many of my colleagues in the sciences, that it’s not safe to compress explosive gases and store them underneath and beside a lake that serves as the drinking water for a hundred thousand people,” she tells Bill. “From my point of view as a biologist and a mother, this out-of-state company… is trespassing in our community.”
Steingraber returns often to the concept of “toxic trespass” — which “means that chemicals without our consent enter our body sometimes because we inhale them,” she explains to Bill. “You know, each of us breathes a pint of atmosphere with every breath. And so that’s one way in which toxic air pollutants then enter us, into our bloodstream.”
UPDATE: 5:30 pm – Police pulled so hard on the barrel that one of the chains broke
Update from Glen in jail: the blockaders did not unlock voluntarily. Police pulled so hard on the barrel that the chain on his wrist broke. Glen doesn’t think anything is broken, but the extent of his injuries has not yet been determined.
UPDATE: 3:00 pm – Charges filed against blockaders
Glen Collins, Matt Almonte, and Isabel Indigo Brooks are all being charged with three misdemeanors: resisting arrest, criminal trespassing and illegal dumping. Show your appreciation for their efforts with a donation to their bail fund!
UPDATE: 1:30 pm – For more photos of the action, visit our Flickr page.
UPDATE: 1:00 pm – Third blockader arrested
Isabel Indigo Brooks, who was inside the pipe providing assistance for Glen and Matt, has also been removed from the pipe and arrested.
Demonstrate your support with a generous donation to the bail fund for these courageous blockaders.
UPDATE: 12:45 pm – Glen and Matt arrested and loaded into police van
Demonstrate your support with a generous donation to the legal fund for these brave blockaders.
BREAKING: 12:30 pm – Blockaders forcibly extracted from pipe
Police brought an ambulance to the scene and then began pulling on one of the barrels. The crowd surged onto the easement to protect Glen and Matt from this dangerous extraction, but they were chased away by the police. Both barrels and the two blockaders have been removed from the pipe.
Meanwhile, a team of blockaders are stopping a nearby excavator machine from digging the pipeline trench.
UPDATE: 12:05 pm – Two police officers enter the pipe, emerge a few minutes later
Glen and Matt are still locked inside the pipe; the police have been completely unable to extract them but continue to threaten various extraction techniques which would endanger the blockaders’ lives, such as cutting into the pipe.
Join the fight against Keystone XL by coming to our next Mass Action Camp starting on January 3, one month from today!
UPDATE: 11:20 am – Police attempting to block view of pipe and move supporters further from scene
Police have moved several trucks and vans in order to obstruct the view of the pipe in which Glen and Matt are locked. They have threatened arrest and forced supporters off the property immediately adjacent to the pipeline easement, despite the fact that the homeowner gave protesters explicit permission to be in her yard. Police are also forcing protesters to move further along the public road along which they were standing.
There were five of them, not even men yet, accused of a violent rape. They were prosecuted aggressively by district attorneys and vilified by a tabloid press, then sent to prison for as many as 13 years.
In 1989, the case of the Central Park Five, as the attack on a 28-year-old white investment banker in uptown Manhattan has come to be known, roiled the country, touching on race and class and fears about crime.
But the defendants -- all black or Latino, none older than 16 -- didn't commit the attack on the Central Park jogger. They were the victims of coerced confessions and authorities eager for scapegoats.
Then in 2002, after the five had all spent years in jail, a previously unknown man admitted to beating and sexually assaulting the woman. All five of the convictions were vacated.
An explosive new documentary looks at a case once referred to as "the crime of the century": the Central Park Five. Many people have heard about the case, but far too few know that innocent teenagers were imprisoned as a result. The film tells the story of how five black and Latino teenagers were arrested in 1989 for beating and raping a white woman in New York City’s Central Park. Media coverage at the time portrayed the teens as guilty and used racially coded terms like "wolf pack" to refer to the group of boys accused in the attack.
Donald Trump took out full-page ads in four city newspapers calling for the reinstatement of the death penalty so they could be executed. However, the convictions of the five were vacated in 2002 when the real rapist came forward and confessed to the crime, after the five defendants had already served sentences of almost seven to 13 years.
Video footage of Occupy Oakland protest on 11-2-11 and beating of Kayvan Sabeghi by Oakland police officer.
An Army veteran who was beaten with a night stick by Oakland police during an Occupy protest and suffered a lacerated spleen, has filed a lawsuit against the Alameda County sheriff's office for allegedly denying him medical care and mocking him during 18 painful hours in a county jail.
Sabeghi, 33, of Oakland, a businessman who was an Army Ranger in Iraq and Afghanistan, said he had taken part in a nonviolent Occupy Oakland protest on Nov. 2, 2011, and was trying to walk home when he was stopped by police. One officer was videotaped repeatedly hitting him with a nightstick. He was arrested on suspicion of remaining at the scene of a riot but was never charged, his lawyers said.
At the Glenn Dyer Jail in downtown Oakland, the suit said, deputies initially refused to examine Sabeghi or take him to a doctor. One officer saw him lying on the floor throwing up and told him to stop using heroin, and another deputy recorded his sufferings on video to humiliate him, the suit said.
A medical staffer finally took his blood pressure and reported, inaccurately, that he was a diabetic and an alcoholic, the suit said. After friends posted bail, Sabeghi, who had briefly blacked out and was unable to walk, was taken to Highland General Hospital, where he underwent surgery and remained for five days.
Sgt. J.D. Nelson, a sheriff's spokesman, denies the allegations and said that Sabeghi received prompt assistance upon arrival, and that an ambulance was called when his condition worsened.
No word as yet on when the case may come to trial.
Yesterday, after a weekend training in nonviolent civil disobedience, protesters from the Tar Sands Blockade jubilantly swarmed the Keystone XL pipeline's construction site in Winnsboro, Texas. Keystone XL pipeline opponents have tried petitioning the government, filing lawsuits, and bringing their issues to the media's attention, but with Obama's recent endorsement of the southern leg of the pipeline, the Tar Sands Blockade feels justified to resort to civil disobedience.
Here, protesters emerge from a “sit-in” 70 feet in the air, in trees which stood in an area already cleared to make way for the pipeline. Protesters holler and cheer as they flood into the construction site, scrawling “blood for oil” on the machinery and holding up a banner that read: “All pipelines leak, all markets peak”. Some people locked themselves to pieces of equipment and others stood, defiantly, in the way of the dirty oil machines.
Eight were arrested yesterday but six of those were released from jail today on charges of criminal trespass. The two who chained themselves to Keystone XL machinery will be in court today.
Twenty-five people, most of them U.S. military veterans, were arrested while laying flowers at a war memorial in New York City Oct. 7. They were engaged in a peaceful vigil to honor those killed and wounded in war and to oppose the U.S. war in Afghanistan as it entered its 12th year.
The vigil was held at the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Plaza in lower Manhattan and began with a program of music and speakers including Vietnam veteran Bishop George Packard, Pulitzer Prize-winning war correspondent Chris Hedges, and Iraq combat veteran Jenny Pacanowski. At 8:30, the protesters began reading the names of the New York soldiers killed in Vietnam who are commemorated at the plaza and the military dead in Afghanistan and Iraq.
At 10:15 pm, the police informed the group that the park was officially closed and that if they remained they would be arrested. Many chose to continue reading names and laying flowers until they were handcuffed and taken away. One of the arrestees was Word War II Army combat veteran, Jay Wenk, 85, from Woodstock, NY.
The veterans had four aims:
Demand an end to the 11-year war in Afghanistan
Demand an end to all U.S. wars of aggression
Remember all those killed and wounded by war
Stand up for our right, and duty, to assemble and organize
Photojournalist, poet and Vietnam veteran Mike Hastie was the first arrested, after appealing to police not to force the veterans out of the war memorial: “This is a sad day. I was a medic in Vietnam. I watched soldiers commit suicide. I had soldiers’ brains all over my lap. How can you do this? How can you arrest me for being at a war memorial?”
Anonymous has claimed to have leaked hours worth of video footage of the NYPD's 2011 raid on Zuccotti Park, filmed by 14 different cameras by the NYPD.
After requesting a comment, The Gothamisthas received a response from NYPD Deputy Commissioner, Public Information Paul Browne who had this to say about the "leak":
Deputy Commissioner, Public Information Paul Browne returned our request to comment: " 'Purports' is the operative word," Browne writes, in reference to our inquiry of the footage that Anonymous purports to have taken from the NYPD. "Contrary to the narrator's account, there were scores of protesters who took video with no attempts by the police to confiscate it."
"Further, the west side of Zuccotti Park on Church Street was lined with television news personnel and satellite trucks, many of whom filmed events that night," Browne adds, omitting the fact that a press pen for the media was erected out of sight of the park, and that most members of the media weren't permitted to observe the raid.
Browne says that the "officer" at the outset of Anonymous' video is not wearing an authentic NYPD uniform, as its patches are out of place and the badge is "clearly bogus." To Browne, the voice of a man stating he is a detective is a sign that the footage was likely turned over in discovery, and is part of the court record: "It was not 'leaked' by the police, but possibly by someone suing us, and not much of a leak since it's park of the court record."
So this release is a leak, but not likely from a detective. There is a lot of video footage, and possibly never seen by the general public before now. This is going to take me some time, but if I come across anything significant, you'll all be the first to know.
At seven in the morning I was on the sidewalk outside my apartment, tweeting pictures of the marchers and police. The NYPD had turned lower Manhattan into a mess of checkpoints. In that way, they were ridiculously effective at disrupting traffic. There were hundreds of cops -- some in riot gear, some on horseback. There were trucks piled high with metal barricades.
We just walked. Some were on the street, most like me cautiously stayed on the sidewalk. We shouted the shopworn protest chants that feel so meaningful when you're chanting them.
At one corner, I saw a cop grabbing the arm of a woman in front of me and pulling her into the street. It was the same gesture you might use to escort an old lady, and, when the next officer did this to me, that is what I thought it was. But then, halfway across the street, he cuffed my hands behind my back.
There was no warning. No Miranda rights like in the movies. At first, I was incredulous. It was not until I got my desk ticket that night for blocking traffic that I had any idea what the officer was accusing me of doing.
I was a head shorter than the officer. I said to him, "You know I was on the sidewalk." He wouldn't meet my eyes. I was two blocks from my apartment. But because I was part of a protest, I was no longer a local. I was an obstruction to be cleared.